The seabed constitutes the largest ecosystem on Earth in terms of volume and organic carbon pool. It harbors an important part of all prokaryotic organisms on Earth and the discovery of these microorganisms has profoundly changed our perspective on the limits of living organisms. Yet, this ecosystem, a compelling and fascinating component of planet Earth, is the least explored part of the global environment.
We seek to understand how prokaryotic microorganisms drive processes in the geosphere and control the coupling of essential element cycles that ultimately affect ocean chemistry and global climate. Our research therefore addresses the biogeochemistry of marine sediments and the biodiversity and evolution of the microorganisms populating this ecosystem.